Men Get Sad and Lonely Too

The idea that only women struggle with this problem is a myth. Although men can process sadness and loneliness differently from women, men still are quite vulnerable. Lack of Communication and Loneliness

Men generally aren’t as quick to communicate compared to women. There’s more of a struggle to connect with others on a meaningful level.

It’s not an uncommon challenge for men to develop vital and deep friendships with people they rub shoulders with at work and in their communities. Many feel like they know hundreds of people but their relationships are a mile wide and an inch deep.

Because of this, loneliness in men is fairly common. It’s not that men desire to be lonely. Loneliness is a terrible feeling.

Some men don’t know how to build deep friendships, don’t realize the need or just figure that’s how things must be.

But that isn’t true. Things can and need to be different for men to be healthy

This doesn’t mean that men are to share every gory detail of their lives with others hoping that transparency leads to friendship. They must test the waters and see if there’s trust first.

Some of the best friendships, ironically, are more of something that happens to a person instead of trying to force something to work. Forcing things almost never leads to deep friendship connections.

Men desperately need other people who are “in their corner.” They need people who believe in them.

Sadness and Emotional Stability

There’s a lot of pressure for men to be emotionally stable and strong. While that’s honorable, sometimes attempts to play such as role breaks down.

Men have hurts just like women do. And stuffing those injuries deep in the soul to give the appearance of strength can mean big-time trouble later on.

Men aren’t invincible. There is no superman. The strongest men aren’t those who ignore their sadness.

The strongest are those who realize they have a problem. Men can’t fix their life difficulties on their own. They can’t make their sadness and loneliness vanish while remaining in a vacuum.

Men need others to help them through these struggles. Everyone does.

Although some level of sadness and loneliness are normal, when this becomes constant or ongoing, it isn’t. If you experience consistent sadness and loneliness as a man, you aren’t alone.

You can experience a much higher quality of life than that. You can take courageous steps towards something better.

Whether that means help from a significant other, venting to a loyal friend or seeking the support of a trusted professional, there is hope!

The strongest men aren’t islands. The strongest men know they need others and that others need them.

These realizations and steps towards something better will go a long way in relieving sadness and loneliness in men. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Agree to Disagree

The other kindred saying to this title is “pick your battles.”

Imagine a nation that went to war over every petty provocation. That would be disastrous, wouldn’t it? And plenty of innocent people would get badly hurt in the process.

No one would deny there are times when a hard stance should be taken. But pushed too far, key relationships dissolve. Children become bitter towards their parents. Parents towards their children. Friends stop getting together.

There are certain things worth fighting for. Still, battle points often need to be dropped, axes buried and good will must prevail though complete understanding of the other side may not.

Is it time to agree to disagree? It could be. Here are some things to think about as you strive for an answer.

So Incredibly Different

It’s remarkable how differently people think and act. Even within the same family, members often shake their heads during tense times. How are such varied viewpoints possible within a close-knit group?

Step outside of your family and bring in different ages, races, nations, genders, childhoods and life experiences and things get way more interesting.

The first thing to remember is that this world is incredibly diverse and that isn’t about to change anytime soon. There’s no way everyone will ever fall in line and start thinking and acting exactly like we do.

Anyone who’s about to embark on a crusade to get others to think like they do at all costs is in for disappointment. Not to mention, a life strewn with wreckage of broken relationships.

Deciding on the Cost

Here’s a quick way to decide on whether to agree to disagree or to hold your ground. Picture a scale in your mind with a place to set something on two opposing sides. You can even draw a picture of this scale.

On one side, mentally place or write down the costs of dropping the conflict. On the other side, write down the cost of not giving in. After you’ve taken a close look at your results, decide on what to do.

Whichever side will cost you and others the most is generally the one you’ll want to avoid.

Most of the time, the necessary or best choice is to agree to disagree. Yet, there are times when this isn’t the best option.

We all tend to be biased toward our own preconceived ideas. Include a trusted friend into deciding what is best. This will help to bring in a more objective opinion.

In conclusion, agreeing to disagree, when done properly, is a huge way of showing you care. It’s a bold though friendly way of saying that you value a person’s friendship more than being right or pushing your own agenda. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

The Right Way To Talk About Your Past Relationships

Depending on your past, it can be awkward to bring up previous relationships. You
may feel like you’re in a lose-lose situation when your significant other asks you.

Although doing so can be difficult, there are some practical things you can do to
share appropriately. Consider the following ideas.

Share According to Personality

There’s something many advice resources fail to mention. You’re not dealing with a
robot here but a person you love. One-size-fits-all advice may work great for one
couple and completely backfire for another.

Think about the uniqueness of your partner. How much can they handle? Maybe
they’re very sensitive when you bring up your past. Be considerate of their feelings
and need for security in your relationship.

Withholding Details

You may worry that withholding details about your past means you’re being dishonest. That isn’t necessarily the case.

Imagine if you spoke out loud everything you ever thought. You’d get yourself in
trouble in a hurry! In the same way, you need to be wise about what you share
regarding your past and how much.

Sure, you don’t want to come across as dishonest because you appear to be holding
back. But you don’t want to scare a new potential mate off early in the game either.

Share Based on Commitment

The reality is that trust needs to be earned to share the intimate details of our past.
Especially if it’s early in your relationship, you should be extra careful.

You should never feel pressured to talk about every gory detail of your past
relationships.

If you’re new to a relationship, share small things first to test the water. As your
relationship grows and trust is built, you’ll feel comfortable sharing more.

Don’t Compare

One of the most important things to avoid is comparison between your significant
other and those from past relationships.

Doing so can needlessly upset the one you love. They may feel like they can’t
measure up to your previous loves. This can cause anger and arguments that don’t
need to happen.

Your partner may even try to outdo those you were in a relationship with previously. Insecurities can come out where your partner is constantly asking you if you are still happy with them.

Although navigating the tricky issue of your past may seem daunting, with a little
practice you’ll do great. Someone who truly cares about you will stick with you
regardless of your past.

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Why You Should or Shouldn’t Get Back Together

Whatever the cause, break-ups are painful and the experience of no longer being with someone you once loved can be extremely disorienting. It is often tempting to consider rekindling a past relationship, especially as time and nostalgia help you forget why the relationship ended. When you come to the point that you’re mentally listing all the reasons you should reconcile with an ex, you need to remind yourself of the many reasons why you shouldn’t get back together.

Remember that the relationship ended for a reason.

In the days and weeks following a break-up, it is easy to romanticize your relationship and gloss over what caused you to split up in the first place. But all relationships that end do so for a reason. Perhaps your partner was decided to take a job opportunity across the country and you couldn’t or didn’t want to move; maybe you weren’t able to agree on children. Whatever the cause, if the factors underlying the reasons for your break-up haven’t changed, any attempts to rekindle the relationship will only lead to more heartache.

Don’t let love confuse you.

Just because a relationship is over doesn’t mean that the tenderness and love that you and your partner felt for one another immediately disappear. There’s nothing wrong with feeling warmly about a former partner, but don’t confuse this affection for a cure for your relationship’s troubles. No amount of fondness can erase the reasons that you and your partner split.

Avoid letting familiarity sway you.

Particularly at the end of a long relationship, the close understanding that your and your partner shared makes the idea of reconciling very appealing. You already know each others’ likes and dislikes, habits and mannerisms; familiarity even gives your partner’s negative traits an attractive glow. But the convenience and comfort that familiarity affords doesn’t negate the reasons why your relationship didn’t work. Remind yourself that the cost of reentering a broken but familiar relationship is the new–and potentially successful–relationship you could be pursuing.

Keep in mind the possibilities that surround you.

At some point in every break-up, the possibility that there is no one else in the world that could make you happy flits through your mind. As time passes, you may become convinced that without your former partner, you will be alone forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. You pass scores of potential new partners every day on the street, in the subway or in line for lunch. If you keep your eyes and your mind open, possibilities lie around every corner.

There are also many times that your relationship CAN work. Just because it gets tough, it doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship isn’t meant to be. It sometimes means you are moving into a more mature stage in the relationship. And this is where you get to examine the relationship in a new light.

Relationship counseling might be the answer to get your relationship back on track.

Our goal for you with relationship therapy is to help you find to a greater closeness and more happiness.

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Are you a Manipulative Control Freak?

There will never be a relationship that is perfect.  At some point in time one or the other person will annoy, hurt, or agitate the other.  It’s human nature.  So, what is a person to do that is being annoyed, hurt, or agitated by the other?  Nag?  Stop talking?  Leave?  No, no, and no.  What do most people do?  They nag the person who is on their last nerve.

Nagging is not something that will produce a positive change or result to a problem; in fact, nagging may make it worse.  Nagging is when a person repeatedly finds fault with someone or complains in an unforgiving manner with the intention of causing displeasure or embarrassment to another person.  This act can cause the person being nagged to be upset, to shut you out, or to become angry.

Nagging is unhealthy for many reasons.  First and foremost, nagging seems to indicate dominance and comes off as everything you say is supposed to be done by the other person because you are in charge.  Really?  Along with dominance comes resentment, negativeness, and criticism.  Are these really the things you want going on in your relationships?  The more you nag, the more your significant other will shut you out.  Nagging is done by manipulative, controlling people.  If this is something you practice regularly, it can be very damaging to your relationships.  Nagging relates to what is wrong with your partner, making your partner feel inadequate.  Inadequacy creates hostility.  It’s a never-ending circle.

Take a good look at the conversations you have with your spouse.  If your spouse has accused you of nagging, or if you know you nag, you need to stop.  It’s doubtful that you married your spouse to make yourself superior in the relationship.  Communication is everything in any relationship.  The sooner you stop nagging, the better your marriage has of standing the test of time.  Here’s how.

Just stop.  Easier said than done?  Okay, choose to stop by toning it down until you can get a grip and find another alternative to nagging.  Determine if whatever you’re nagging about is worth destroying your relationship.  Knowing you can only change yourself, choose to stop nagging so you aren’t damaging your spouse’s self-esteem and causing turbulence in your marriage.  Realize all the negativity that will be removed from your relationship if you stop nagging; i.e., resentment, dominance, criticism, hostility, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Wouldn’t you rather have a marriage based on trust, commitment, compliments, and emotional harmony?  Of course you would.

Overcoming nagging can take a long time, but is well worth the effort.  Once nagging is completely out of the picture, your marriage can develop into a loving, partnership.  If you are working hard in order to change your behavior but are still struggling after some time, you may find you need some help dealing with how to stop nagging.  This is when you may want to reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you. 

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Keeping the Love (and Your Sanity) Alive When the Folks Move In

Here They Come

So you have moved into a home you love, you’re learning what it’s like to live with the love of your life, and the next thing you know you’re hit with the news that mom or dad (or the in laws) will be moving in! Whether due to financial reasons or health complications, it typically happens in an instant without much time to react. So what do you do?

As Time Goes On

When your parents’ move in because of financial reasons, their stay can feel somewhat rewarding in the beginning. They can babysit the kids when you need a night out or they can help out around the house, taking on some of the chores including cooking meals from time to time.  As time goes on however, you and your spouse begin to want your own space again and having your parents around all the time seems to limit your space and privacy as adults.

Call the professional counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County.However, when caring for your parents because they are ill, it can almost seem as if you have adopted another child who must be looked after, which can weigh heavy on a marriage. In any instance, having your parents around all the time can take a toll on your relationship, and if there are not proper steps taken, you could risk damaging your marriage.

Tips on Keeping the Love (and Your Sanity) Alive in Your Marriage

  1. Talk About It – You and your spouse need to be in the habit of constant communication while your parent(s) live with you. You cannot possibly keep the marriage healthy if you are not first and foremost open with one another. Whenever you begin to feel stressed, sad, upset, or out of place it is important to express this to your partner. This way you can both help each other through your feelings.
  2. Give Mom and Dad Their Own Space – If you have a larger home you can easily create a secluded space for mom and dad. For instance, if you have a finished basement you can set up a mini apartment so that they are not consuming your entire home and have privacy of their own.
  3. Create a Private Space – Parents moving in unplanned seems like a home invasion. In order for you and your spouse to not feel “trapped” in your own home you need to create a space that is private for just the two of you. Even if this space happens to be your bedroom, you should make it an oasis for which no one else is allowed to go and you can free your mind of the day-to-day stress.
  4. Ask for Support – If you are really feeling stressed about your parents living in the home (especially when it is the result of a health complication) you should reach out to other members in your family for support. If you have other siblings, you could ask if they might help with the load of responsibilities you have taken on in caring for your parent so that you do not feel so stressed out.
  5. Get Away – Sometimes the only way to keep the love alive is to isolate yourself from the situation. Try planning a weekend getaway for just the two of you to a destination where you can relax and enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. Ask supporting family members to help with your parents, if necessary.
  6. Date Night – Date nights are extremely important to a married couple, especially those in this type of situation. If need be, hire a sitter for your children and ask a family member to watch over your parents and get out for the evening. You would be surprised how something as simple as a dinner for two – out of the house – can make you feel much better about living day-to-day with your parents.
  7. Little Things Mean a Lot – Last but certainly not least, one of the best ways to keep the flame going in a relationship is to do the little things on the day-to-day basis. Send your spouse a loving text message, place a love note in their jacket pocket, do a chore that is usually theirs, or schedule a surprise visit to their job and take them out for lunch. The simplest things can make your spouse feel special despite the challenges you both face as a couple while having parents live with you.

With marriage comes the thick and thin, and having your parents move in with you is most certainly in the “thick” category. Rather than stress yourself out and damage your marriage, follow some of these tips to keep the love alive. Once mom and dad are back on their feet, you can mark this down as another challenge you conquered together as a team.

If you and your partner or spouse are having difficulty adjusting to having an extended family under one roof, talking to a trained counselor can help. Your family AND marriage are the most important things in your life. Let the caring therapists at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you keep both healthy and happy. Give us a call today at 949-220-3211, or schedule your appointment using our online calendar. You’ll be glad you did.

When Your Adult Child Returns to the Nest

Call the professional counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County.

You’ve raised your kids and now it’s time for you to adjust to living with no children.  Maybe you have children who are getting ready to graduate from college or older children who have a career or are married.  So, what do you do if your adult child asks to return to the nest?  Why on earth would your adult child be asking to return to the nest?  There are many reasons your child may no longer be able to remain self-sufficient.  Maybe there will be a transition from college to career, maybe your child received a layoff, or maybe there is a separation or a divorce forthcoming.

Whatever the reason, your adult child is asking to come home and you will need to set some ground rules.  Yes, ground rules.  Yes, your child is an adult; however, your child is now living in your home.  As they say: your house; your rules.  You do not want this to be a picnic for your child, or your child may stay under your roof for a very long time.

When parents do not establish ground rules before allowing an adult child to return to the nest, they may end up broke.  Not only will your electric bill rise, but your child may pressure you to help pay for large items, such as car payments or lawyer fees.  It is important to sit down and agree on things to make the situation as pleasant as possible.

Here are some things that should be ironed out before your child returns to the nest:

  • Coming and going – When you expect your child to be home or if your child decides not to come home, do you expect a phone call?  Do you expect your child to be home by a certain time of night?
  • Cleaning and laundry – What chores does your child intend to do or do you expect your child to do?  How often will your child be expected to buy cleaning supplies and laundry detergent?
  • Visitors – Is it permissible for your child to have people come to your house?  Are drop-in visitors allowed?  What about overnight guests, including members of the opposite sex?
  • Pets – Can your child bring their pet to your house?  If so, who takes care of the pet when your child isn’t home?
  • Bills – Are you charging rent?  What bills do you expect your child to pay?  IN what ways do you expect them to contribute financially to the household while they live there? Are you loaning your child money?  If so, is there interest added?
  • Food – Do you plan to share the grocery bill and the cooking of meals, or is everybody on their own to do their own grocery shopping and cooking?  Is the food in the refrigerator up for grabs or not?
  • Time frames – Do you have a certain expectation of when your child will move out and be independent?  If your child is graduating college, do you expect your child will be independent within 5 years?  If your child is going through a divorce, how many months or years are you willing to help them recover?

All of these things should be talked about prior to your child returning to the nest.  Many people recommend you put all of these things in writing in order to remember what was agreed upon, as well as to make your child accountable for what they agreed to at the start.

Some More Tips

Some more tips, or better yet, things not to do, when allowing your adult child to return to the nest include leaving the living situation open-ended, paying for your child’s bills, allowing your child to kick back instead of looking for a job, and allowing your child to live in your house with no chores or responsibilities.

One more thing to consider is that having your adult child move back in with you may cause hardships between you and your spouse.  For the most part, fathers usually want to have their children out of the nest by a specific time, and mothers are usually the ones who want to make sure their children are 100 percent sound financially and ready to go back out on their own.  Sometimes, the smallest incident will set off a parent, causing some animosity between parent and child.  Although this is not the ideal situation, kudos to your child for working up enough courage to ask to return to the nest, rather than make major financial mistakes that could be costly for life.

If you are having issues with how to deal with your child’s request to move back home, or if your child has moved back home but it’s causing you grief and unhappiness, consider talking to one of the therapists at the Relationship Center of Orange County.  Our professionals are trained to counsel you on all relationship issues, including your child wanting to return to the nest.  Call us today at 949-430-7132, or go online and use our online tool to schedule your appointment.

Relationship Quotes to Inspire and Make You Smile

I love discovering a new quote, or rediscovering an old one, that’s so pithy, funny, wise or inspirational it makes me stop and think or smile. I thought it would be fun to take a break from some of the headier relationship topics and share some of my favorites:

“Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquility of a lovely sunset.” — Ann Landers

“No partner in a love relationship… should feel that he has to give up an essential part of himself to make it viable.” — May Sarton

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” —Henry Winkler

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” —Lao Tzu

“Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.” —Anthony J. D’Angelo

“At the end of the day, you can either focus on what’s tearing you apart, or you can focus on what’s keeping you together.” —Unknown

“I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy to go into relationships as a needy person. Better to go in with a full deck.” —Anjelica Huston

“The older I get, the less time I want to spend with the part of the human race that didn’t marry me.”  —Robert Brault

“Be honest, brutally honest. That is what’s going to maintain relationships.” —Lauryn Hill

“The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds—they mature slowly.”  —Peter De Vries

“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”  —George Levinger

A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them— they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship. —Rainer Maria Rilke

“It is only when we no longer compulsively need someone that we can have a real relationship with them.” —Anthony Storr

“To talk about a relationship trivializes something that’s nobody’s business.” —Jennifer Aniston

“Marriage may be made in heaven, but the maintenance must be done on earth.” —Unknown

successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” —Mignon McLaughlin

“Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.”
— Joseph Barth

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

“The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” —Unknown

“If I get married, I want to be very married.” — Audrey Hepburn

Very best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday season!

Powering Down to Tune In

Do you dread that moment at the start of a flight when the attendant instructs you to “please turn off all electronic devices”? Not yet, you think, I just need to check my email again to see if my meeting has been rescheduled! Or, I was about to make a brilliant play on Words with Friends!

Smartphones call to us

For a lot of us, electronic devices have become constant companions. Sometimes the thought of taking a break from texts, emails, and late-breaking news updates can actually produce anxiety.

It’s often been reported the effect all of this has on children, with video games, texting and constant use of social media robbing them of valuable time that could be spent on imaginative play, reading, and actual face time with other human beings.

Yet adults—and their relationships—are also impacted when we are constantly plugged in. I remember when a friend took his son on a Boy Scout camping trip and immediately updated his Facebook status to read, “Making s’mores with my son and our friends!” I couldn’t help but wonder how much he could be enjoying the campfire and good company if he was simultaneously engaging with his iPhone.

It’s become such a common scenario that there are even television commercials about it, with one cell phone brand promising to let a man surreptitiously watch the big game under the table during a romantic dinner while his spouse or partner is none the wiser. It’s supposed to be funny, but the “joke” is on the partner, who was hoping for an evening of intimacy. When you think of it that way, it’s not so funny after all.

Here is a question to ask yourself if you worry that your love affair with electronic media might be a threat to your real-life relationship: Do you set boundaries when you’re spending time with your partner or spouse? Just because your friends and coworkers can reach you anytime, anywhere doesn’t mean they should. But it’s not their job to figure out when it is or isn’t an appropriate time to ask you for an expense report or fill you in on the latest gossip. It’s your job to tune it out by simply turning off your cell phone, tablet or other device-of-choice. Only then can you truly communicate with your spouse or partner, discuss what’s happening in your lives and enjoy each other’s company. It’s called being in the moment.

You’ll also avoid the risk of offending your spouse or partner, who can hardly be blamed for wondering where your priorities are if you’re taking calls or checking emails when you’re out having dinner or cuddled up on the couch with a glass of wine.

On the other hand, if he/she is equally guilty of always keeping one eye on the cell phone when you’re together, that could point to more deep-seated issues in the relationship. Do you actually want to spend time together, or are you just going through the motions and using the intrusion of outside calls or emails as a way to avoid talking about difficult problems? Have you been neglecting the relationship for so long that you have little of substance to talk about? In those cases, technological distractions are a symptom rather than the cause of the problem.

This can be an invaluable wake-up call that it’s time to start tending to the relationship itself again, whether that means working through some things you’ve been brushing under the rug, finding some common interests to pursue together, or even spicing things up in the bedroom—another area that could be neglected if you’re spending too much time on the Internet.

In an age when so many people are substituting Facebook for time spent sitting on the porch to chat with the neighbors, it’s easy to see the conundrum: technology can make our lives more convenient, but it can also undermine real-life relationships. Don’t let your relationship with your spouse or partner become one of them. After all, it’s as easy as the touch of a button—the “off” button—to power down for a while so you can truly tune in to the person who’s right there in front of you.

Technology interfering with your relationship? Let us help. Call our licensed counselors at OC Relationship Center today at 949-220-3211 or book via our convenient online scheduler.